Santa Claus

Photos by Carla Waters

Santa Claus waves to the crowd as the float he is riding makes it’s way down Walnut Street in Watseka Friday night.

The City of Watseka kicked off the holiday season with the annual Christmas parade Friday night.

The Lighted Christmas Parade, conducted by the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Watseka, traditionally is the Friday night after Thanksgiving. Farm equipment, cars, trucks, motorcycles, emergency response vehicles of all kinds, walking entries, singing entries and a special surprise at the end of the parade were all part of the event.

The theme this year was “A Homemade Christmas”.

Several awards were given. They include:

Best Children’s Unit — Girl Scout Troop 2529

Best Walking Unit — First Trust and Savings Bank

Best Float — Iroquois County Historical Society and Genealogy

Best Use of Theme — Watseka Suzuki Honda

Best Use of Lights — Watseka Family Festival

Best Decorated Emergency Vehicle — Sheldon Fire Department

Best Religious Entry — First United Methodist Church

At the end of the parade, the Watseka Family Festival float had a special guest. Santa Clause found his way to Watseka and was riding the float along with Little Mr. and Miss Snowflake, Hudson Hill and Willow Zielie.

Before the parade, Mayor John Allhands, Alderwoman Monna Ulfers and Alderman Brandon Barragree took part in the tree lighting ceremony at the Watseka Post Office.

All encouraged people to shop in the local stores this holiday season.

“We welcome everybody to town,” Allhands said, noting that the downtown area was lined with cars as people waited for the parade to take place.

He said with the height of the holiday shopping season just beginning with Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, and continuing to Christmas, there are many stores in Watseka where people can shop for any number of gifts.

Baked goods, jewelry, gift items, gift certificates, frames and photographs, and larger items are all available, he said.

“We want to encourage everyone to come out and shop local businesses,” he said.

Ulfers said she wanted to welcome everyone to town. “We are getting in the mood for the Christmas season,” she said.

Barragree said the businesses have decorated for the holidays and the city is festive. “It really does look nice,” he said.

Allhands said that the chamber has done a wonderful job in decorating. “They did a little extra this year,” he said.